Raith line up replacement as Callachan departs for Hearts

Ross Callachan has joined Hearts for an undisclosed fee.
Ross Callachan has joined Hearts for an undisclosed fee.

Raith Rovers are lining up a swift replacement after selling club captain Ross Callachan to Hearts.

The transfer deadline day move - first revealed by The Fife Free Press - was completed this morning after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee for the midfielder, who turns 24 on Monday.

The loss of a key player is a blow to the Kirkcaldy club in their bid to return to the Championship, but the Press understands that manager Barry Smith is hoping to sign cover in the shape of former Celtic, Blackpool and Dunfermline midfielder John Herron.

The 23-year-old free agent has been training with the Stark's Park side in recent weeks and is viewed as an ideal replacement.

Raith chairman Alan Young confirmed: "A transfer of this nature can only take place if the manager is confident that he has sufficient replacement to cover the loss of such an important player. That cover is in place."

Commenting on the departure of Callachan, the chairman added: "I am extremely disappointed to see Ross Callachan leave Raith Rovers.

"He is a hard-working professional with considerable talent.

"Over the last few months there has been interest from a few clubs in our captain.

"To date we have been able to reject these offers as the club and Ross himself agreed that our principal priority was getting back into the Championship in one year.

"Ross was considered by the manager and the board as being an important player in achieving that objective.

"Ross has, however, now been presented with the opportunity of playing in the Scottish Premiership for the club he has supported since childhood and Raith Rovers are not really in the position of preventing Ross from realising his dream.

"We wish him all the best for the future and thank him for all his efforts for the Rovers over the last 10 years. He will always be welcome back at Stark’s Park."

Callachan made 125 appearances for the first team since joining Raith as a 13-year-old, but admitted he could not turn down the opportunity to move to his boyhood heroes.

Speaking to Hearts TV, Ross said: “I grew up watching Hearts and for them to come in with an offer for me, it’s a dream come true really.

“In terms of what fans can expect, I’d say I’m quite an energetic player, a box-to-box midfielder. I like to get around the park and I can put myself about a bit as well.

“I’ve played a lot of games for my age and I feel now is the right time to step up and I’m ready to challenge myself here.”